Tag Archives: sugar

Foolproof Funfetti Icebox Sugar Cookies

I’ve said before that I find making cookies where you roll out and cut out cookie shapes not enjoyable. The cookies would usually end up tough and rather bland however after a lot of experimenting and sugar cookie baking, I’ve managed to get a recipe which produces perfect sugar cookies. These are my Foolproof Funfetti Icebox Sugar Cookies!

The perfect cookie is crisp around the edges and soft and chewy in the centre but the addition of rainbow sprinkles add not only a massive pop of colour but a tiny amount of texture which adds a lot of interest to a standard sugar cookie recipe.

I eliminate the chance of overworking the dough when you roll it out by hand by following an icebox cookie method. If you’ve not heard of an icebox cookie, you might actually be familiar with the method and some cookies which use it; checkerboard cookies, pinwheel cookies and striped cookies all use the icebox method.

The cookie dough is shaped into a log and chilled to firm it up which allows it to be sliced into shapes which give consistency across a batch of cookies. Icebox cookies tend to be smaller than your average chocolate chip cookie so the yield per batch is much higher than most other recipes. I averaged around 60 cookies per batch.

Icebox cookies have a further benefit in that the cookie dough can be made ahead and frozen and after time defrosting in the fridge, it can be used as normal. Just make sure that it is wrapped tightly in clingfilm so it doesn’t suffer from freezer burn.

Check out my other cookie recipes by clicking on the names:

170g margarine

200g granulated sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

355g plain flour

1 tsp baking powder

80g rainbow vermicelli sprinkles, plus 50g for the outside of the cookies

In a large bowl, cream together the margarine with the sugar until it is lighter in colour and the sugar has dissolved and is smooth. Add in the eggs one at a time, beating well between each addition. Mix through the vanilla extract.

Sift in the plain flour and baking powder and using a rubber spatula, fold through the dry ingredients. Before the mixture comes together into dough, add in the rainbow sprinkles and continue to mix until a pliable dough forms.

Fill a baking tin with the extra rainbow sprinkles. Divide the dough into 4 and on a lightly floured surface, shape the dough into a log. Roll the log gently in the tin of sprinkles until the outside of the log is well covered. Lay out sheets of clingfilm and roll up the logs in clingfilm well. Shape the cookie dough into a cuboid shape and repeat for the rest of the dough. Chill for 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 180˚C. Line a baking tray with baking parchment.

Using a sharp knife and a single downward motion, slice off pieces of the cookie dough ¼ of an inch thick and arrange on the baking tray, leaving room for spreading.

Bake the cookies for 9 – 11 minutes, or until the cookies have spread and are ever so slightly tinged golden around the edges. Leave the cookies to cool on the tray for 15 minutes before carefully lifting off the tray and transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.


Crystallised Stem Ginger Cookies

Ginger is one of the building blocks of Chinese cuisine and it is well known (and increasingly backed up by science) that ginger has many health-bearing properties; Confucius said “do not take away the ginger” because ginger can reduce internal heat and fever. With all that, here’s another, less traditional, recipe that would be perfect for Chinese New Year, my Crystallised Stem Ginger Cookies.

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You can check out the recipe for my Sweet Beancurd Soup (腐竹糖水) by clicking on the name. It’s a much more authentic Chinese recipe. However in saying that, these cookies have a very similar appearance to Chinese Walnut Cookies called 核桃酥 (Hup Toh Soh) so I guess there’s a Chinese influence somewhere.

I added some of Beech’s Chocolates’ Crystallised Stem Ginger to the cookies for a chewy burst of sweet gingery heat. Their stem ginger is “large chunks of the highest quality Chinese stem ginger dusted in fine cane sugar” and is a new product on their website and I was lucky enough to pick some up back in November at a food show. It retails at £6.99 and you can find it online by clicking here.

One of my favourite things about this product is the packaging. I love the oriental feeling the packaging has which comes from the red dragons on the box. It plays on the fact that it is Chinese stem ginger and it makes this product stand out for me.


Sometimes crystallised ginger can be quite tough and hard to eat but Beech’s Stem Ginger has the fantastic crunchy sweet sugary coating which is easy to bite into and then you have soft, sticky and chewy Chinese ginger which is spicy, warming on the tongue and throat and full of ginger flavour. It’s something that I could enjoy on its own as well as using it in my baking.

I’ve also reviewed and used Beech’s Chocolate’s Lime and Chilli Chocolate in my Bonfire Chilli Chocolate Cheesecake Cupcakes, and you can find that recipe by clicking on the name.

This recipe is adapted from Eric Lanlard’s Afternoon Tea. I changed the spices to what I had in the cupboard as well as adapting the recipe quantities, adding in the stem ginger pieces and baking them for a bit longer so the edges are nice and crisp.

85g margarine

135g granulated sugar

1 egg

185g self-raising flour

¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda

2 tsp ground ginger

¼ tsp ground cinnamon

¼ tsp ground nutmeg

6 pieces of crystallised stem ginger, chopped into small cubes, saving 16 cubes for the tops of the cookies

Demerara sugar, for sprinkling

In a bowl, cream together the margarine with the granulated sugar until it is pale and fluffy. Add in the egg and beat well until the egg is incorporated.

Sift and then fold in all the dry ingredients to form a soft but not sticky dough. Before it all comes together to a dough, add in your chopped crystallised stem ginger. Leave the dough to sit for 5 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 170˚C. Line 2 baking trays with baking parchment.

I found it easy to portion out the cookies using a half filled ice cream scoop. Roll the dough into a ball between the palms of your hands and place onto the baking trays, leaving a 2 inch gap between each cookie. Top each cookie with a cube of the stem ginger and then sprinkle Demerara sugar over each cookie, tipping away the excess.


Bake the cookies for around 13 – 16 minutes until the edges are a golden colour, the cookies are browned nicely, they have a cracked appearance and they have spread. Leave the cookies to cool on the tray for 10 minutes before leaving to cool on the parchment. The cookies should lift off very easily.


Sweet Beancurd Soup (腐竹糖水, Fu Juk Tong Sui)

Millions of people across the world will be celebrating Chinese New Year on January 28th and it’s the Year of the Rooster. And in honour of Chinese New Year, I’m showing you how to make one of my most favourite Chinese desserts, Sweet Dried Beancurd Soup, 腐竹糖水 (fu juk tong sui).


Fu pei is the Chinese for dried beancurd. It comes in sheets which, when rehydrated in warm water, can be rolled around a meat or vegetable filling (this is called fu pei guen, 腐皮卷, literally dried beancurd roll) or in sticks which can be fried with meat and vegetables or added to stews or soups, the latter of which I’m doing. This recipe is courtesy of my nan and she told me it was very easy and having now made it myself, I concur, it’s ridiculously easy.

You might be quite unfamiliar with dried beancurd. When soy milk boils, a film/skin forms on the surface, which is the beancurd. It’s then collected and dried to form ‘fu pei’. But fu pei itself is quite a common ingredient in the Chinese cuisine, often found stir-fried with vegetables. One of my favourite ways to eat it is in a braised lamb belly stew which I have absolutely no idea how to make but I will definitely get my nan to teach me one day!


But it also goes fantastically in this soup. The Chinese aren’t big dessert and cake people and desserts at the end of a family get together usually consists of fresh fruit and then tong sui, literally sugar water. There are many different types with lots of ingredients in them, including red bean, taro, sweet potato, tapioca pearls and beancurd. My favourite is sai mai lo, 西米露, which contains the sago or tapioca pearls and sweet potato but again, I’m yet to learn that recipe.


You might be surprised at how little sugar there is compared to the volume of water but as the water boils and evaporates, the sugar concentration increases and it becomes sweeter however going slightly under on the sugar means that we can easily adjust it at the end to taste. I actually found that 4 tablespoons was the right amount for me personally and it tasted exactly as how my nan makes it, but it all depends on how sweet you like it.

1.2L recently boiled water

3 – 5 tbsp granulated sugar, depending on how sweet you want it

2 sticks of dried beancurd, you can find these in the world food section of supermarkets

1 egg, beaten

In a large saucepan, bring the water up to a rolling boil. Dissolve 3 tablespoons of sugar and then crush in the 2 sticks of dried beancurd.


Place a lid on the pan and leave for 4 – 5 minutes until the beancurd has softened completely and is a pale creamy colour.


Remove the pan from the heat and whilst stirring constantly, pour in the beaten egg. The egg should cook immediately but put the pan back on a low heat with the lid on for a couple of minutes just for thoroughness. Taste and adjust the sweetness if necessary.


Serve the soup hot, warm or even cold on its own in a bowl as a great light dessert to end any meal. Any leftovers can be refrigerated and eaten cold but it has to be eaten within a day of making.


Chocolate Brownie Pudding

Sometimes you just really need a pudding on a cold night to make you feel so much better. And in amongst the revision for my first university exam, I managed to find a bit of time to rustle up a Chocolate Brownie Pudding.


This pudding is rich and chocolatey and is just so utterly comforting; it’s everything you want in a pudding. The recipe is easily scalable to serve as a pudding for a family or for friends to share.

I read somewhere that if you beat the brownie mix for a bit after it’s fully mixed, that gives you the wonderful wafer thin crust on top of the brownie and so I’m following that same method here to get a crust on top of the pudding. It’s got a slight crunch to it and that contrasts so well with the fudgy chocolate pudding.

The dish that I used is a 14cm oval ceramic dish from Poundland. It’s been one of my favourite purchases and I’ve used it for so many meals, it’s incredibly versatile. I baked my Homemade Chicken Enchiladas in the dish and you can go read the recipe by clicking on the name.

60g dark chocolate, broken into pieces

50g margarine

60g granulated sugar, you can use soft light brown sugar

½ tsp vanilla extract

2 eggs

35g plain flour

Natural yoghurt or crème fraiche, to serve

In a microwaveable bowl, melt the dark chocolate and the margarine in the microwave. You can use the residual heat from the melted margarine to finish melting the chocolate. Add the sugar and vanilla extract and mix to combine. Leave to cool for 10 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 180˚C. Grease a 14cm oval ceramic dish.

Add in the eggs one by one, mixing well between each one. Fold through the plain flour gently until it is just combined and then give it a good mix for about 20 seconds to help form the crust on the pudding.

Pour the brownie pudding batter into the greased dish and bake for around 20 – 22 minutes until the pudding has slightly risen and a crust has formed on the top of the pudding. Serve the pudding immediately and top with some natural yoghurt or crème fraiche.


Homemade Chicken Enchiladas with a Homemade Spicy Tomato Sauce

Enchiladas are a favourite of many people with a tasty meat filling in a tortilla wrap covered with a flavoursome tomato sauce and topped with melted cheese. My version is filled with sliced chicken breast mixed with spicy pickled jalapenos.


The chicken breast is panfried in cumin oil. I simply place cold oil into my frying pan and season the oil with salt and add the cumin seeds. As the pan heats up, the cumin seeds start to release their aroma and as the chicken cooks in the pan, the seeds release flavour and the chicken absorbs this flavour. Cumin itself, for me, is a very Mexican spice, with its background warmth and toastiness which adds so much depth to a lot of Mexican food.

I think making the tomato sauce from scratch makes a huge difference to this dish. The spices and sweating down the onions and peppers add a lot of flavour and liven up the enchiladas. The sauce is also fantastic with pasta so making extra sauce is always a good idea so you can have a quick meal when you get home from a long day.

The dish I used was a ceramic baking dish from Poundland and I found the mini tortilla wraps from Tesco. You can use any baking dish you have in your cupboard, just make sure that your wraps fit inside it otherwise you might have a bit of trouble squeezing it into your dish.

For the chicken:

1 tsp cumin seeds

¼ tsp salt

2 tbsp olive oil

2 chicken breasts

For the spicy tomato sauce:

1 red pepper, finely diced

1 onion, finely sliced into half moons

1 tomato, diced

1 tbsp tomato puree

½ tsp coriander seeds

¼ tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp smoked paprika

1 tsp chilli flakes

2 tsp sugar

Salt and pepper

50g curly kale, finely chopped, stalky bits removed

1 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes

1 tbsp cornflour

For the enchiladas:

30g pickled red jalapenos, finely chopped

6 mini wheat tortilla wraps or 4 normal wheat tortilla wraps

50g cheese of your choice, grated; I used Double Gloucester

Place the cumin seeds and salt into a frying pan with 1 tablespoon of the oil. Heat up the pan until the oil is hot and the seeds begin to colour and release their aroma. Panfry the chicken breasts in the cumin oil to brown on each side. The chicken will let you know when it needs to be turned over because it won’t stick to the pan.

Once browned, place onto a baking tray and bake the chicken breasts in an oven preheated to 200˚C. Bake the chicken breasts for around 20 – 25 minutes, depending on how thick they are, until they are cooked all the way through and no pinkness remains; if you have a food thermometer, it must exceed 74˚C.

For the spicy tomato sauce, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil in a saucepan. Add in the diced peppers and sliced onions and cook them for around 7-8 minutes until they have softened and the onions are translucent. Add in the fresh tomato and the tomato puree and cook the puree out for a minute. Add in all the spices at once and the sugar, some salt and some pepper and stir to combine.

Throw in the kale and the chopped tomatoes. Fill the tin halfway full of water and swill the tin and add to the pan. Stir and bring it to the boil and allow to reduce by about a quarter. Mix the cornflour with some water to form a slurry and add to the sauce, stirring to thicken. Continue to cook until it coats the back of a wooden spoon. Leave to cool slightly.

Shred or chop the chicken into small strips and place into a bowl with the chopped jalapenos. Spoon about half of the contents of the pan into the bowl, avoiding too much of the sauce, and mix together.

Divide the chicken mix between your wraps, placing them in a line in the centre of the wrap. Roll up the tortilla, tucking in the wrap so that they form a tight roll. Place them seam-side down in the baking dish. Pour over the remaining sauce over the top and spread over. Sprinkle over your cheese (I didn’t have a grater so just chopped it up finely).


Bake for around 15 – 20 minutes until the cheese has melted, the sauce is bubbling and any exposed edges of the tortillas have crisped up. Serve on their own as pictured or with sour cream, coriander and a wedge of lime.

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Day 10 of 12: Baked Mini Irish Cream Cheesecakes

Cheesecakes are often made in 2 ways; the refrigerated variety is quick, simple and perfect for any beginner wanting to make a dessert to impress and usually has whipped double cream folded through the cream cheese mixture which both helps the mixture to set and lightens it too. Alternatively you have the albeit slightly more tricky baked cheesecakes which have a tendency to crack but the key ingredients are eggs; the protein in the egg white help the mixture to thicken when baked and the eggs act as an emulsifier giving you a smooth texture.


I decided to go for a hunt for a baked cheesecake recipe that doesn’t use eggs (simply because I didn’t have any in the flat). In my research, I found that starch (i.e. flours) could be used in replacement for eggs, since the starch in flour thickens up the mixture when heated, but it did state that the cheesecake wouldn’t be as smooth or as silky as a cheesecake with egg would be.

I eventually came across Amy in the Kitchen’s (great minds with the blog name!!) recipe for a Simple Cheesecake which doesn’t use eggs. Her recipe uses double cream and sour cream to achieve the creamy texture associated with cheesecake but reading through some of the comments, I saw Amy suggest using Greek yoghurt, milk and melted butter to replace these ingredients.

So, adapting her recipe, as well as switching up the flavours, I present to you my Baked Mini Irish Cream Cheesecakes! The addition of Irish cream gives these cheesecakes a distinctly adult flavour as well as extra creaminess, which is just what you need this Christmas!


The major brand of Irish cream liqueur is Baileys but it can be expensive at nearly triple the price of lesser known brand equivalents, which, tastewise, are very similar. If you aren’t familiar with Irish cream liqueur, it’s (rather obviously) a creamy whisky-based liqueur which is very sweet and because of the cream, a smooth drink which is perfect drunk over ice or in a coffee!

It has a rather familiar taste, at least that’s what I think, because of its thick creamy richness and the vanilla, coffee and chocolate flavour profiles. For this reason, it’s very palatable on its own but also goes fantastically in a cheesecake. Make sure to check out these brilliant cheesecake recipes too:

Jane’s Patisserie’s No-bake Mint Aero Cheesecake

Becky’s Biscuit Bases’ Maltesers and Baileys Cheesecake

Andrew in the Kitchen’s No-bake Individual Strawberry Cheesecake

Andrew in the Kitchen’s Chilli Chocolate Cheesecake Cupcakes

Andrew in the Kitchen’s Baked Blueberry Swirl Cheesecake

8 digestive biscuits

50g margarine, melted

240g cream cheese

100g full fat Greek yoghurt

60g granulated sugar

3 tbsp cornflour, sifted

75ml Irish cream liqueur

1 tsp vanilla extract

125ml milk

Preheat the oven to 180˚C. Line a 6-hole muffin tin with 6 paper muffin cases.

Either in a food processor or in a sandwich bag with a rolling pin, bash up the biscuits to form fine biscuit crumbs. Pour them into a bowl and add the melted margarine and stir until it forms a buttery biscuit base. You can check if it is done by pressing it against the side of the bowl and if It clumps together, it’s ready.

Divide the biscuit base between the 6 muffin cases and press the bases down firmly. Bake for 10 – 12 minutes until they are set and then cool for 10 minutes. Turn down the oven to 170˚C.


For the cheesecake mixture, mix together the cream cheese and the Greek yoghurt with the sugar until it is smooth and aerated slightly. Fold through the cornflour and the filling should feel thicker when you mix it. Gently incorporate the Irish cream liqueur and the vanilla extract through the cheesecake mix and it should look light in colour as well as light in texture. Now fold through the milk and give it a good beat to ensure it is thoroughly mixed in.

Divide the mixture between the 6 cases and give the tin a shake to remove large air bubbles and to level out the mixture. Bake the cheesecake for 25 – 35 minutes, or until the cheesecakes are lightly golden at the edges and have the tiniest wobble in the centre when you shake the tin. Leave the cheesecakes to cool in the tin for around 15 minutes before lifting out to a wire rack to cool fully.

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Make sure to also check out the first 9 Days of Christmas too! We’re almost at Christmas Day and the end of this series, how time flies!

Day 1: Dairy Milk Caramel Cupcakes

Day 2: Melted Snowman Chocolate Chip Cookies

Day 3: Lidl’s Favorina Spiced Biscuit Spread Review

Day 4: White Chocolate and Cranberry Crunch Biscuits

Day 5: Red Velvet Hazelnut Biscotti

Day 6: Melted Snowman Chocolate Cupcakes

Day 7: Essential Cuisine Turkey Gravy Review

Day 8: Gingerbread Hazelnut Latte Biscotti

Day 9: Christmas Present Cake

Day 8 of 12: Gingerbread Hazelnut Latte Biscotti

If you’ve been following my 12 Days of Christmas series (and I can’t believe that we’re here on Day 8 already, the time has flown by!), you know that I’ve been a bit obsessed with making biscotti; I’ve already made White Chocolate and Cranberry Crunch Biscuits and Red Velvet Hazelnut Biscotti for Days 4 and 5 respectively.

And I think they’ve become such a favourite of mine to make because they are so simple to make, even without the aid of an electric mixer, something which I’ve had to adapt to here at uni! What’s more, just 1 egg white can make 12 of these biscotti, which means that they are a fantastic recipe to make if you want to make edible gifts this year.


Biscotti are often served alongside coffee and I was inspired by Starbucks’ Gingerbread Latte to fuse the two together to make Gingerbread Hazelnut Latte Biscotti. These biscotti are lightly spiced with festive spices and has a delicate hint of coffee too.

Remember to also check out the first 7 Days of Christmas on my blog!!

Day 1: Dairy Milk Caramel Cupcakes

Day 2: Melted Snowman Chocolate Chip Cookies

Day 3: Lidl’s Favorina Spiced Biscuit Spread Review

Day 6: Melted Snowman Chocolate Cupcakes

Day 7: Essential Cuisine Turkey Gravy Review

1 egg white

¼ tsp cream of tartar

40g granulated sugar

½ tsp Camp Coffee essence

33g plain flour

¼ tsp ground cinnamon

¼ tsp mixed spice

Pinch of ground nutmeg

60g hazelnuts, chopped into rough pieces

Preheat the oven to 180˚C. Line a baking tray with baking parchment, which is lightly greased.

Whisk the egg white with the cream of tartar until it is frothy. Add the sugar very gradually, whisking well between each addition until it holds stiff peaks. Add in the Camp Coffee essence and fold through until it has been evenly incorporated; it will be a very light brown colour.

Sift in the flour and spices and use a spatula to fold through the dry ingredients, scraping right down to the bottom. Add the roughly chopped hazelnuts and mix through.

Scrape out the batter onto the oiled baking parchment and flatten out to 1.5cm thick. Bake the biscuits for around 25 minutes until the surface is golden and set (by which I mean the top doesn’t give way when you touch it). Leave it to cool fully on the tray.

Preheat the oven to 160˚C. Take a serrated knife and slice the biscuits into long strips about 1cm wide and place them onto a baking tray with the cut side face up. Bake the biscuits again for a total of 15 minutes, turning them to expose the other side halfway through.